Give and take and give: it’s the cycle of a healthy PLN

PLNing has been a bit of a lifestyle change for me, really. Prior to taking COETAIL, I took a 6 month break from social media use and news consumption. I didn’t recognise the power of connecting with others. COETAIL has caused me to embrace social media, more as a professional tool than a personal tool.

I only connected with one person outside my cohort these past few months.


As a result, we ended up connecting on Twitter. In the future, I plan to give encouragement to new COETAILERs.

My most powerful tool in my PLN, however,  is a Facebook group for International School Librarians. It was started by a COETAIL graduate a few years ago @dimac4. It’s packed with great people, useful information, and it never lets me down.

Rather than be someone who just takes and takes, I try to offer, as much as I can. It’s kind of annoying when people show up and say ” here’s what I want and need. Go!” It’s good to have a healthy balance of taking and giving.  So, I use my RSS feed to share, I comment wherever I can offer. Throughout this course, I set time aside to find information and articles I could share with the network.  Here are my posts to the group in 2018.

I think it’ll be important for me in the future to remember to set aside each time each week (maybe 30 minutes) to give to the group. After all, they’re always there to give to me.

For my project, I shared a blog post, and got some great feedback from the group, as well as someone who had experience with badging. I wish I had reached out to the group before I started the project – it would have given me more direction!

Nothing is richer than someone sharing their experiences, and I’m thankful to Carlos for sharing his with me. Now I know that sharing prior to launching a project is better than doing it halfway through.

I used Twitter a little bit, too, as a way to share and connect.

Twitter is a great way to do this, but it doesn’t come close to the power of the Facebook group. I see connecting with people and information on Twitter is powerful. But, the Facebook group gives so much and so quickly – nothing compares.

There’s so much power in sharing with others. It’s  much easier to get ideas and implement them, compared to when I first started teaching 12 years ago. It’s a gift that I don’t want to take for granted. So, I really should continue to keep giving where possible… and take a little, too.

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